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Appealing a Houma Car Accident Case

In a car accident case, sometimes accident victims do not receive the damages that they deserve. In those situations, appealing a Houma car accident case is an option. With the assistance of an experienced car accident lawyer, an individual could appeal their ruling, and try to achieve an outcome that is favorable and fair. There also rules and limitations to appealing. In a controversy between parties, after a jury trial or court trial and a judgment has been rendered, there can only be one appeal. If you want to appeal your car accident case, it is important to work with a seasoned legal advocate that is aware of these rules and could use their knowledge to fight for you.

The Process of Appealing a Case

The first step in Louisiana law if someone is aggrieved by the jury verdict and wants to begin the process of appealing a Houma car accident case is to move for a new trial or to move for a judgment notwithstanding the verdict. Those motions must be made within seven legal days of notice of the verdict. Once a jury verdict is entered, a judgment is prepared and presented to the court, where the judge signs the judgment. The clerk then provides a notice to the parties.  The next day, legal delays begin running.

If the court made a legal error and the attorney is confident that they would get relief at the Court of Appeal level, the attorney may not want to file a motion for a new trial or for a judgment, notwithstanding the verdict. In that case, the appeals process begins. Once seven legal days have elapsed, the party who wants to appeal the judgment petitions or moves the court for an appeal.

Periods of Appeal

There are two periods of appeal when appealing a Houma car accident case. One is a suspensive appeal which suspends the effect of the judgment. That appeal must be filed within 30 days after the delay for filing a motion for a new trial, and there is another period 30 days later for a total of 60 days, which is the outside limit to present to the court a motion or petition for a devolutive appeal. That is how an appeal begins.

Once the trial court has signed the motion or petition for appeal, the Court of Appeal is notified and the local clerk of court begins the preparation of the record. The record is a transcript of testimony of witnesses at trial and exhibits which have been offered and admitted into evidence. Once the record is lodged with the Court of Appeal, there will be delays for briefing. In Houma, which is in Terrebonne Parish, if there is an appeal of a trial court judgment or jury verdict, it is going to be presented to the Louisiana First Circuit Court of Appeal.

After briefing is completed, the Court of Appeal will set an argument date, and the attorneys on the appeal will have an oral argument before the Court of Appeal. The Court of Appeal would then take the matter under advisement and will render a decision either affirming the trial court judgment, reversing the trial court judgment or reversing and rendering. If the Court of Appeals finds there is a manifest error or a legal error, they can look at the record and render a judgment that they determine to be just under the facts and law. That is how an appeal takes place in Houma.

Role of the Court of Appeals

In Louisiana, the Court of Appeals has some discretion in reviewing the facts as determined by a judge or jury. It is limited, however, in that before a Court of Appeals can change a judgment or jury verdict, the factual determination has to be found to be manifestly erroneous.

On the other hand, if there has been a legal error on rulings of evidence, procedural matters, or jury charges, i.e. the law instructed by the court to the jury, the Court of Appeals may, based on such legal error, make their own determination as to damages. Usually, if there has been a verdict that the injured party is aggrieved by, it would have to be a substantial mistake on the facts and/or the damages.

How the Jury and the Courts Decide on Damages

When appealing a Houma car accident case, there will be a range for a jury verdict that probably will not be changed by an appeal to the Court of Appeals. On the other hand, if the damages under the facts and the law are low, the Court of Appeals can increase the damages. Usually, it is going to be increased to what is called the discretion of the jury or the judge to be the lowest of the low. That is for people who are aggrieved by the jury verdict because they feel the judge or jury did not award enough for damages.  If there is a legal error, there are no constraints on the Court of Appeals in review of the damages. In the case of a legal error, the damages could be increased to whatever the Court of Appeals thinks is just under circumstances. If there is a manifest error, the amount of damages that can be increased is limited.

How a Houma Car Accident Attorney Could Help

Attorneys in Houma handle appeals of jury verdicts and judgments by trial court. The first thing an attorney could do is look to see if there has been any legal error and if there is no legal error, whether the judgment is one that would be successful on appeal. If there is a legal error, those are the ones an individual would need a Houma attorney to assist.  Where the issue is how much the jury has awarded, those are tougher cases, and it would require a review of the record. Trial lawyers in Houma handle trials of claims for damages arising from car accidents, but if an attorney is not involved in the case, it is difficult to determine whether there would be an error that would be successful on appeal without review of the record.  Houma attorneys do handle appeals and are always happy to assist others in appealing a Houma car accident case. If you want to appeal your car accident case, get in touch with a skilled lawyer that could fight for you.